Dental problems are not just for kids! Seniors are susceptible to several dental issues, from minor issues like tooth decay to more severe concerns like gum disease. While you can often prevent these problems with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental check-ups, many seniors neglect their teeth and deal with painful conditions like cavities and gingivitis. If you want to try and avoid this, this post will show you some of the most common dental problems among seniors. It will also provide tips on how to prevent them from occurring.
How To Care For Your Teeth As A Senior
Your teeth and gums can become more susceptible to disease as you age. Therefore, taking good care of your teeth as you age is crucial so you can continue enjoying good oral health. Here are some tips on how to care for your teeth as a senior:
- Schedule regular dental check-ups. Just because you’re not experiencing pain doesn’t mean your teeth and gums are healthy. Seeing your dentist regularly will help to catch any problems early before they become serious.
- Be sure to brush and floss daily. Plaque can build up on your teeth as you age, leading to gum disease. Brushing and flossing removes plaque, so be sure to do it daily.
- Consider using an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can be easier on your gums than a manual brush, and it can also help to remove plaque more effectively.
- Use toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Your teeth can become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures as you age. Using toothpaste for sensitive teeth can help to relieve this discomfort.
- Drink plenty of water. Water helps to wash away food particles and bacteria from our mouths, and it also helps to keep your saliva levels topped up. Saliva is important because it contains enzymes that help to break down food particles and keep our mouths healthy. Aim for six to eight glasses of water per day.
These tips will help you enjoy good oral health well into your golden years!
Tooth decay is the most common dental problem among seniors. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that 91% of adults aged 65 and over have at least one tooth with decay. There are several reasons why seniors are more susceptible to tooth decay. One of the biggest factors is dry mouth, which certain medications and medical conditions can cause. In addition, poor dental hygiene habits like not regularly brushing or flossing can exacerbate tooth decay. Furthermore, seniors are often more prone to developing cavities, as the enamel of their teeth can become thinner and less resistant to bacteria over time. Even a minor case of tooth decay can quickly develop into something more severe if not treated promptly.
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems. Seniors are at exceptionally high risk for developing gum disease because they are more likely to have plaque and tartar build-up on their teeth. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth, and tartar is a hardened form of plaque. If plaque and tartar build, they can cause the gums to become inflamed, leading to gum disease. If gum disease does develop, it is crucial to get treatment as soon as possible. Treatment may include deep cleanings, antibiotics, or surgery. You can control gum disease with prompt treatment, and its progression stops. Left untreated, however, gum disease can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and other serious health problems.
Periodontitis is a severe gum infection that can damage the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. While periodontitis can occur at any age, it is more common in older adults. This is because the gum tissue becomes thinner with age, making it more susceptible to inflammation and infection. Additionally, your immune system becomes less effective at fighting off bacteria as you age. Several other risk factors for developing periodontitis include smoking, diabetes, and certain medications. However, the most important factor is poor dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing regularly are essential for keeping the mouth clean and preventing periodontitis. If you are concerned about developing this condition, see your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.
Another common dental problem among seniors is denture stomatitis or inflammation of the soft tissues inside the mouth. This condition is due to an overgrowth of yeast in the mouth, which can irritate the gums and cause dentures to become loose. In addition, poor oral hygiene often aggravates the condition and can lead to gums and skin infections. You can treat denture stomatitis with antifungal medications, but it is important to see a dentist for an accurate diagnosis. In some cases, dentures may need to be replaced or adjusted. Good oral hygiene is essential for preventing denture stomatitis, and seniors should brush their teeth twice a day and floss regularly. If dentures are causing irritation or sores, they may need to be cleaned more thoroughly or replaced.
According to the American Cancer Society, over 54,000 people in the United States will develop oral cancer this year. Most cases occur in people over 40, and the risk increases with age. There are several risk factors for oral cancer, including smoking, heavy alcohol use, and exposure to sunlight. People with a family history of the disease are also at increased risk. Therefore, early diagnosis is critical for successful treatment. Oral cancer typically begins as a small lesion or growth on the tongue, gums, or inner lining of the cheek. These lesions can be painful or cause bleeding. If left untreated, oral cancer can spread to other parts of the mouth or throat, making it difficult to eat or speak. Treatment typically involves surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. In some cases, you may use a combination of treatments. With early diagnosis and treatment, the prognosis for oral cancer is excellent. However, it can be fatal if you don’t catch the disease early. As a result, it is crucial for seniors to be aware of the signs and symptoms of oral cancer and to see their dentist regularly for screenings.
Take Steps To Avoid The Common Dental Problems Among Seniors!
As you age, staying on top of your dental health is essential. While some people will go their whole lives without experiencing any dental problems, others may be affected by any of the conditions listed above, as well as others. Fortunately, these conditions are all treatable with prompt diagnosis and proper care. But the best way to prevent them from occurring in the first place is to maintain good dental hygiene and see your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Doing that can go a long way to keeping your mouth free of disease and discomfort as you grow older.